The West Australian government has revealed the beaches where up to 72 baited hooks will be used to catch and kill sharks this summer under its controversial new “mitigation” policy.
The Liberal state government has come under fire for recently stepping up the measures after a spate of fatal attacks in WA waters, with plans to set baited hooks one kilometre offshore from January.
This has prompted outrage from conservation groups, with some even threatening to remove bait from the drum line hooks to prevent shark deaths.
On Friday, Premier Colin Barnett revealed the metropolitan Perth beaches where the devices will be set: Ocean Reef/Mullaloo, Trigg/Scarborough, Floreat/City Beach, Cottesloe/North Cottesloe and Port Leighton.
The areas will be patrolled until April.
In the South West region, drum lines will be set at Old Dunsborough, Meelup/Castle Rock and Gracetown – where the most recent fatality occurred – up until the end of school holidays in February.
Thereafter, surfing hotspots south of Cape Naturaliste will be the focus.
Mr Barnett said there had been a significant number of shark sightings at the locations, which were frequented by a large number of water users.
Despite substantial opposition to the plan, he reiterated that the new measures were necessary after a surge in shark activity in the state’s waters in recent years.
“We have had 20 fatal shark attacks in WA in the past 100 years – seven of them in the past three years,” he said.
On Tuesday, the WA government called for professional shark fishermen to apply to patrol the state’s waters and kill any shark bigger than three metres spotted in the designated zones.
After the death of surfer Chris Boyd in Gracetown last month, Mr Barnett said the WA government “had to intervene more directly”.